Your Pet and Mushrooms

In our climate, we have four beautiful seasons. With every one of our seasons, we experience one or more forms of precipitation. Rain seems to be dominant in every season which means a large amount of moisture in the ground. During these times, you may have noticed that mushrooms seem to pop up everywhere! While they may not be a nuisance for some, for others they can pose a serious threat. Those of us with four-legged friends need to pay close attention to these fungi due to the hazard it poses to both cats and dogs. If ingested they can cause serious health problems and even death. While most of the common mushrooms we see in our environment are not toxic, some types can be dangerous.

Dogs and cats can be attracted to certain species of mushrooms due to the fishy odor that they expel. Some may even consume mushrooms out of curiosity. Different species have different toxins; some are poisonous to both humans and animals, and some to just animals. Species of mushrooms that contain deadly toxins and are more prevalent belong to the Amanita, Galerina, and the Lepiota families. Mushrooms can be difficult to identify and the best way to have one identified is by a mycologist (a scientist who studies fungi). NAMA (North American Mycological Association) does have a list of volunteers that can be contacted for further information on identifying a mushroom. Knowing what toxins your pet ingested can be vital in treatment of toxicity. In an emergency situation, identifying a mushroom may not always be possible.

Signs to pay attention for are:

  • Drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Painful stomach
  • Intoxicated-like behavior
  • Tremors or Seizures
  • Depression
  • Organ Failure

In the circumstance that your pet eats a mushroom, contact your veterinarian immediately. You can also call the Pet Poison Helpline at 855-764-7661 (be aware there is a fee) if your vet is unavailable. If you are able to locate the mushroom, be cautious, place on wax paper and place in a paper bag, then put into a refrigerator until you can take it to your vet or to a mycologist. As stated above, NAMA has a list of volunteers on their website that may be of assistance. Immediate medical care is recommended for the ingestion of any mushroom. Letting our four-legged friends play outside is lots of fun and a huge benefit to them, not only for them but for us too! Being aware of dangers in the environment is important!